Scores of former and current players were among the hundreds of people at HP Pavilion on Saturday for a memorial service to honor Charlie Wedemeyer — the Los Gatos High football coach who became a national beacon of perseverance as he battled Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) for more than three decades.
Wedemeyer died June 3 at age 64 of pneumonia. He was an extraordinary fighter who despite losing his ability to walk, eat, speak or even breathe without a ventilator, never lost his will or his sense of humor.
Speakers included former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci, Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards and actor Michael Nouri, who portrayed Wedemeyer in a made-for-TV movie.
"Charlie," former 49ers tight end Brent Jones said, "was the funniest man I never heard. But Charlie also was the strongest man I've ever known even though he couldn't lift his arms."
Wedemeyer was a three-sport star who was voted Hawaii's prep athlete of the 1960s. He went on to become a backup quarterback at Michigan State. Wedemeyer and childhood sweetheart Lucy then put down roots in Los Gatos, where he was named the high school's football coach in 1977.
Kale Wedemeyer ended his eulogy by saying how, when he closes his eyes, he now sees his father in heaven. No longer is he confined to a wheelchair.
"And to me," Kale Wedemeyer said, "he looks like Superman again."
Kim Kirchen was placed in a medically induced coma after having a heart attack at the Tour of Switzerland, his team said. The rider felt dizzy at the team hotel Friday night following the seventh stage and was sent to the Zurich University Clinic. Team Katusha said he's in a stable condition. Kirchen, 31, will have to remain in a coma for at least 24 hours. He was 48th overall in the race. ... Rui Da Costa broke away over the final six miles to win the 107-mile eighth stage. Robert Gesink maintained the overall lead, and Lance Armstrong held seventh place, 55 seconds back. The race ends today with a 17-mile time trial.
Jason Arnott is back with New Jersey. Arnott, who scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for the Devils in 2000, was acquired from Nashville for Matt Halischuk and a 2011 second-round draft pick. Arnott, who had 19 goals and 27 assists last season, waived a no-trade clause in his contract.
Former world heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman (47-7-2) continued his comeback by scoring a fourth-round TKO over Shannon Miller (16-5) in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Former Stanford star Candice Wiggins had 19 points to lead visiting Minnesota (4-9) in 92-78 win over Tulsa (3-8).
Paddy O'Prado, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, won the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup by three lengths at Colonial Downs (Va.). Paddy O'Prado, third in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness, ran 13/16 miles in 1:54.20.
Kasey Fagan of Dunnellon High (Fla.) was named Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year. Her father and Dunnellon's coach, Kevin, won two Super Bowl rings as a defensive lineman for the 49ers from 1988-93. The senior pitcher/third baseman led the Tigers (33-1) to the Class 4A state title this season, posting a 26-1 record and a 0.57 ERA in the circle. She also hit .574 with eight homers and 61 RBIs. Fagan maintained a weighted 4.74 GPA and was salutatorian at Dunnellon. She has a softball scholarship to Florida.
Associated Press and wire services contributed to this story.